Northern Ireland news

Chinese student in Northern Ireland scammed out of £200,000

The PSNI has issued a warning over scammers targeting international students (Niall Carson/PA)
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Police have issued a warning after a Chinese student in Northern Ireland was scammed out of £200,000.

In a fake phone call in recent weeks, the woman was told she was suspected of being involved in money laundering.

The PSNI said that two other men posing as officers from “Beijing Police” spoke to her and threatened her with arrest if she did not pay £200,000.

After transferral of the funds, the woman never heard from the men again.

Detective Superintendent Richard Thornton said: “This is a really despicable, calculated crime.

“These fraudsters contacted the student online, and even went as far as dressing in uniforms claiming to be officers from ‘Beijing Police’.

“These fraudsters went to great lengths to make themselves appear genuine, but that’s the last thing they were.”

The PSNI received two similar reports last year of scammers who had targeted Chinese students studying in Belfast.

They lost a total of £105,000 to fraudsters who claimed they were from the Chinese Embassy and Chinese police.

Mr Thornton said: “Being aware of the signs of scams can help prevent these fraudulent crimes and keep people and their money safe.

“The reality is scammers will stop at nothing to trick you out of your money, for your loss and their gain.

“Being scam aware can make all the difference.”

The PSNI said the easiest way to stop a scam is to apply five rules – always hang up the call immediately; always delete texts requesting personal information or bank account details; never call the number back; never click on links in text, or respond to unsolicited texts; never transfer money to another account.

Northern Ireland news